The opening of the North Gate in 1955 was a major deal for Sarnians

The east side of the Northgate shopping plaque was at the time of its opening in 1955.
Courtesy, Lambton County Archives, photo collection, file 6-DB

Back in the early 1950s when I was starting school, downtown Sarnia was the shopping area.

It was before the Eaton Center, before the Mall Lambton. The London Road shopping plots to the east of Murphy were not yet in existence.

If you wanted a shop, it was the downtown.

So it was great news when the Northgate Shopping Center announced its opening on Thursday, 24 March, 1955.

The new commercial mecca promised a great open fun weekend and prizes in the “Sarnia shopping show” with the new commercial mecca which confirmed it.

Northgate merchants wanted the whole public to be present when he opened the doors at 9:30 a.m. It was easy to find, located just south of Dual Carriageway No. 7 at Exmouth Street, with free parking for up to 2,000 cars.

The list of prizes to be won was very important. He was given six bikes – three for boys and three for girls, as well as dinner sets and five kitchen hours.

Other prizes included 50 dolls representing all nations, theater ticket books and 10 dart board series, as well as radios, bathroom scales, floor politicians and 50 cooking encyclopaedias.

But wait, there was more there.

Every woman got to attend the grand opening of orchid as well as an opportunity to win a “Breath of Spring” muskrat fur jacket.

Men could vie do your home workshop with accessories or Kodak movie cameras and projector. There were power drills, Coldspot deep freezer, and Kenmore electric dryers, electric kettle, electric food mixers and five trapped electric iron.

And the major prize – a new Oldsmobile in 1955 – was a huge success.

The Union Jack takes over workers building store signs at the new Northgate Center, as it was called in 1955.
Courtesy, Lambton County Archives, photo collection, file 6-DB

Northgate promised a “one stop shop” for residents where you could pay for payment by Bank of Scotland, washing at Barge Cleaners, getting rid of the Barber Chuck Shop and eating lunch at the Latner Restaurant.

You could buy a pair of new shoes at E & R Shoe Store or fix your old ones at Jim's Shoe Repair.

Simsons-Sears and Woolworths and Dominion provided the major supports available to the major stores, including Brown's Silk Shoppe, Mel English Pharmacy, Grinnell Music Store, Macklin Flower Shop and Minden's Credit t Jewelers.

This was the 1950s which was booming when the economy was setting up post-area records. Families were growing and there were abundant jobs in the city and Chemical Valley.

At the beginning of the shopping center the opening of the North Gate was celebrated.

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